September 17, 2021

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Tensions rise in US amid police shootings, Chauvin trial | TheHill – The Hill

3 min read

Tensions have increased in the U.S. over the past week amid new reports of fatal police shootings and in anticipation of the verdict in former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin‘s murder trial.

Ongoing protests broke out across the country this week over police shootings of Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, and Adam Toledo, a 13-year-old boy. 

In addition, cities are preparing for unrest as the nation waits for the verdict of Chauvin, who faces multiple charges in the killing of George Floyd, a Black man who died in police custody in May of last year. 

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The city of Minneapolis as well as several major U.S. cities have called for an increased police presence, and the deployment of National Guard troops. 

Protests erupted in Minnesota earlier this week after the police killing of Wright in the city of Brooklyn Center on Sunday. Former police officer Kim Potter, a white woman, shot Wright during a traffic stop. Local police said the officer thought she was deploying her Taser but instead fired her service weapon.

Protests over the shooting continued Friday for a sixth straight day in Minneapolis.

Most of the demonstrations have been peaceful, but on Friday, a small group of demonstrators began throwing objects and attempting to break a fence that was surrounding the Brooklyn Center Police Department.

Of the estimated 500 demonstrators, 136 people were arrested that day, the state said on Twitter.

Another 24 that were detained for violating curfew on Wednesday and 72 that were arrested on Tuesday.

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Protestors also demonstrated over the police killing of Toledo after new body camera footage was released Thursday of his death. The officer, after a chase, caught up to the boy, and Toledo turned around and raised his hands in the surrender pose.

Police claimed that they saw the 13-year-old holding a gun, though it was not immediately clear in the video. 

The footage led activists and advocates to accuse authorities of lying about the circumstances surrounding his death, which occurred on March 29.

Demonstrations were held in Chicago, New York City to demand justice for Toledo. About 1,000 people came together in Chicago Friday night, according to NBC News. The outlet reported that some people chanted “stop killing kids.” 

Demonstrators also gathered in Black Lives Matter Plaza in D.C. Friday to protests Wright and Toledo’s killings. Some clashed with police after they attempted to walk through dining areas, throwing fireworks and shining lasers at officers.

Protestors demonstrating against the deaths in Oakland, Calif., set small fires, smashed windows and spray painted businesses, according to the outlet. 

And in Portland, a riot was declared on Friday night after law enforcement said that protestors targeted an Apple store, setting a fire outside its premises for the same reason. 

To compound tensions,  the nation awaits the verdict of Chauvin’s trial. Closing arguments are expected to begin on Monday. The nation’s cities are building up their law enforcement presence anticipating unrest. 

The Minnesota National Guard told The Hill that it is maintaining over 3,000 Guardsmen to help with potential protests, and are “prepared to flex that number as needed to support civil authorizes.”

Razor wire is also reportedly being installed around police buildings.

The city of Brooklyn Center declared a curfew for 11 p.m. on Saturday night, after imposing the same curfew Friday night.

A 10 p.m. curfew was imposed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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p class=”p2″>Minneapolis is moving its public schools to virtual learning beginning Wednesday as Chauvin’s trial comes to a close.

Police presence is also expected to increase in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and New York.

Similar protests erupted nationwide just one year ago over the killing of Floyd Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake.

Bystander footage that showed Chauvin on top of the man with his knee on Floyd’s neck went viral, sparking outrage that reignited a national dialogue over policing. 

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